A Family Tradition
As a retired U.S. Navy veteran and the son of a master gunsmith, Mike Miller knew exactly what he wanted to do when he decided to work for himself. In fact, “exact” is a key component of Mike’s business — Spartan Precision Gunsmithing. That’s because the manufacturing of custom bolt-action rifles, the main focus of his business, means he must stay within tolerances of about .0005 inches (less than the thickness of a sheet of paper).
“Being retired from the military, I don’t have to work but I choose to,” Mike said. “I enjoy firearms and a lot of my friends are real gun fanatics and hunters, so a lot of them would come to me for help with their firearms. It seemed a natural fit for me to pursue gunsmithing.”
Mike had already invested a significant amount of money to obtain some equipment and make renovations to his shop. However, he needed even more specialized equipment to offer the full range of services that Spartan Precision Gunsmithing provides today. That’s when Mike began searching for assistance to obtain financing.
Finding the relevant business assistance in Wyoming can sometimes seems like a daunting task for entrepreneurs, that’s why the Wyoming SBDC Network created Wyoming’s Business Resource Locator tool.
Mike first reached out to the Veterans Business Outreach Center in Billings, Montana and was then referred to his local Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network advisor. His advisor was able to get him started with an in-depth business plan and also brought in other Wyoming SBDC Network experts to help with financial projections and more.
“Getting everything locked down with the Wyoming SBDC Network’s spreadsheets really helped with applying for the loan,” Mike said. “I also have to give kudos to my wife, Kristina, for wordsmithing the business plan. She’s the refined one, I’m more of a blunt instrument.”
With his business plan and financial projections in hand, Mike was able to obtain a business loan in the summer of 2021 to purchase a lathe, mill, dies, tooling, and other equipment to get Spartan Precision Gunsmithing into full production.
Today, Spartan Precision Gunsmithing provides a wide variety of firearm services out of Mike’s Sheridan workshop. Thanks to the full complement of equipment, Mike is able to manufacture custom bolt-action rifles, rework clients’ current rifles, and perform firearm diagnostics and repairs. He also offers weapon transfers.
Additionally, Mike is a certified Cerakote applicator. Cerakote is a ceramic polymer thin based coating for corrosive protection that comes in many styles such as single-color, blended, camouflage, and other designs. For those who prefer the traditional gun bluing, Mike is also set up to provide that service. If all that weren’t enough, Spartan Precision Gunsmithing also provides laser engraving services for custom engraving and stippling on polymer pistol frames.
At a time when others might be hesitant to start a business, Mike believed in his business plan and followed his passion to find success. Like many other businesses, Mike has felt impacts from supply chain issues as some equipment — like a metal band saw, a dust collector, and some tooling — were delayed. However, he has his eyes on the future and plans to acquire more certifications, obtain more equipment, and provide more services to clients in Wyoming and nationwide. The Wyoming SBDC Network is proud to have worked with Mike and will be there to assist in any way we can with Spartan Precision Gunsmithing’s future success and growth.